The BPI (British Phonographic Industry) recently released the 2009 music statistics for sales across the UK. In the report, it mentions how our music industry has coped with the rush of illegal downloads.
From what they say, sales of albums have declined slightly through 2009, but this has been the trend since 2005 when sales of albums started to fall. I suspect this is due to the fact that people can now save money if they only pick the tracks that they want online – they no longer need to purchase the whole album. In any case, it now stands that 128.9 million album sales were made in 2009 compared to 133.6 million in 2008.
Sales of singles have rapidly increased in 2009. The total number of singles sold in 2009 stands at 152.7 million, compared to 2008’s 115.1 million. The increase in sales of singles started in 2003, but 2009’s increase is the biggest seen so far.
Bear in mind that that only mentions sales and it is unclear how many pirated downloads were made – but it is still believed that the proportion of illegal downloads is much bigger than the proportion of legal purchases.
I believe that 2010 will be the year for music streaming rather than downloading (or purchasing in a shop). With more and more of us gaining access to the internet, it is becoming easier for us to legally stream music from the internet. I think services such as Spotify will rapidly grow in 2010 as it primarily free – the company makes money from an advert being played after every fifth or sixth track.
Spotify (as far as I’m aware) hasn’t revealed how many streams were made in 2009, but it would be interesting to know. I believe that free music streaming is the only way to get people of P2P.
Credit for information to the BPI and the Official UK Charts Company.